I wrote this paper for my english class...I liked it so much I decided to post it. yay!
America the Wireless. The United States has joined the world and jumped on the technological bandwagon. Plasma Screen televisions, computers that now expedite internet connection faster than Speedy Gonzales can say, “Arrrreeba!” MP3/WMA players, iPods, and last and certainly not least, Cell phones: the bane of my high school existence, and a necessary evil…emphasis on the word, ‘evil.’
I’ll admit I own a cell phone, and I use it frequently. It’s the easiest way for me to stay in the loop with my friends, and the most convenient way for my parents to reach me while I’m not at home. There used to be a simpler time when only adults needed to carry around cell phones for business use. Now almost every teenager is equipped with a phone because “The fear of not being in the loop or of missing something is huge.” (qtd. Palenius, the Local) So, because of this, cell phones have become a necessity.
However, “In the ever changing world of communication there are two kinds of people: those who text, and everyone else” (Nevius, 2005). This rapidly growing trend has permeated our society with 90% of teenagers who own a cell phone admitting that they use their phones to text more than to talk (Haig, 2002), turning their phones into a kind of mobile messaging device. And because of this, cell phones are in fact, evil.
You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing people whipping out their cell phones, not to answer an incoming call, rather to carry on a conversation over text messaging (a.k.a. SMS, short messaging service). I can’t set through a whole movie in the theatres anymore without hearing the ‘bzzz bzzz’ of an incoming SMS signal or having the annoying, translucent, electric-blue backlight turn on-and-off whenever someone flips open their phone to answer a text. It’s extremely distracting.
I ashamedly admit that I was one of these people. I was a number in this staggering statistic. I too, was afflicted with, what I like to call, ‘the SMS bug.’ Text messaging was all I used my phone for (aside from the occasional call from my mother to find out where the crap I was). When asked if Text Messaging will replace computers and Instant Messaging, Misuko Ito, a mobile culture researcher/scholar, will replace computers, Ito’s answer was, “No, I think it will replace gum and cigarettes.” (qtd. Nevius, 2005) And boy was she right. I used to send up to 120 text messages or more nearly everyday. It was easy, it was fun, it was also very addicting…there was just something about the “click-click, click clickclick clickidy click-click” when sending a message that was just so satisfying, like some sort of technological drug. It became a part of my everyday life. Not only did I use it to talk with my friends, but also to (shoot me now) “hook-up” with one of my best friends, pathetic I know.
I had liked him for so long, but I was always too scared and unwilling to tell him how I felt, and since SMS, like instant messaging, is non-confrontational, I found the courage I needed to say things to him that I never would have if I was speaking to him face-to-face. I thought, at first, that it was a brilliant idea, until I realized (too late) how detrimental lack of face-to-face communication with him was, not only to our relationship, but to our friendship as well. We never really spoke to each other in person anymore, and conversation in person always felt a little awkward and forced. We went from being best friends, to basically avoiding each other like the plague. I don’t think it helped much that our relationship also ended on a really bad note…over a text message… I’m not the only one who’s made this kind of mistake.
The first time Rachel Clayton, a student at Northwestern University, heard the words, ‘I love you’ from her boyfriend of six months was over a SMS message. “I just sat there and stared at my phone…I couldn’t believe the first time he used those words was over a text.” (Pressner, USA Today, 2006) Many other women have also said that they have had relationships, like mine, that began, flourished, and eventually ended via text message. The problem: because so much of our communication is in the tone, of our voice, how we say things and our body language that a lot becomes lost in translation. So, well meant, personal sentiments become meaningless, and miscommunication occurs. It’s unfortunate, because it’s preventable.
Avoid replacing human contact with impersonal text messages, remember that some things should be saved for direct person-to-person communication, and should never be said over a Text Message.
Haig, M. (2002). Mobile Marketing: The message revolution. London: Kogan Page
Nevius, C.W. (2005). www.sfgate.com “Time to get hip to text messages”
Pressner, Amanda. (2006). www.usatoday.com/tech/news “Can love blossom in a text Message?”
Polenius, Ulla. (2006). The Local (News from Sweden in English).